Michael Grade
Name: Michael Grade
Hobbies/Interests: water sports, football, music
Charities: Demelza House Children's Hospice

For Michael Grade, a distinguished and highly successful career in showbusiness appeared to be in the genes. Michael became a trainee journalist on the Daily Mirror in 1960 (he was their sports columnist 1964 - 1966).

In 1973 he became deputy controller of entertainment programmes at London Weekend Television. In 1984 Michael gained one of the most prestigious positions in British broadcasting when he became controller of BBC One then Director of Programmes two years later.

He was also the man who recognised the potential of the new soap opera "EastEnders" (1985), which he gave a prominent twice-weekly slot, and broadcast the Live Aid (1985) (TV) rock concert. Another success during Grade's time was "Blackadder II" (1986), which he commissioned on the condition it would be an improvement on "The Black Adder" (1983), which he judged an expensive failure.
His tenure was notable for boosting BBC One's ratings, not least through the introduction of several popular and long-lasting soap operas. As well as "EastEnders" (1985), there was the seafaring soap opera "Howards' Way" (1985), "Casualty" (1986) and the Australian import "Neighbours" (1985). In 1988 he became chief executive at Channel 4 television and was responsible for bringing the hugely popular American series' "ER" (1994) and "Friends" (1994) to British TV.

He eventually left Channel 4 in 1997 and took major roles at numerous companies, including First Leisure, Camelot and the Millennium Dome project. He was appointed Chairman of the BBC in 2004, a position he held for 5 years before stepping down. His remarkable achievements in broadcasting were recognised by a CBE.